An A to Z of Greece

Greece has everything you could possibly want from a Mediterranean destination; when it comes to uncovering its secrets, the only problem is where to begin… our A to Z of Greece is here to help.

This smart harbour-front town is a favourite amongst Cretophiles and for good reason. The chic array of boutique shops, sophisticated bars and waterfront tavernas are hard to beat and the sparkling atmosphere around Lake Voulismeni often sees street performers and high divers come out to entertain those dining by the water. Take a boat along the coast to nearby Elounda, a five-star resort with a dining scene to match, or venture across to the beguiling island of Spinalonga, the former leper colony made famous by Victoria Hislop’s novel The Island. Wherever you go in Agios Nikolaos & The Gulf of Mirabello you’ll find something to captivate your heart. Enjoy a view of it all from 3-bedroom Villa Melissa or stay right by the beach at 5-bedroom Mirabello Bay House.


If you’re looking for a family break and a little time to switch off while the kids make friends and play, Beach Life is the answer. In the school summer holidays, our complimentary programme of supervised activities is available at two of our flagship beachfront hotels, GK Beach in Crete and Bella Mare in Corfu. While children aged 5 to 11 enjoy our programme of supervised activities, you could be lounging by the pool with that airport novel or enjoying a little something at the bar.

The Emerald Isle in our Greek portfolio, Corfu sees our guests returning time and again to the fashionable north east, the region the Durrell family made famous. You’ll find a winning combination of pristine pebble beaches backed by lush green hillsides with an abundance of idyllic tavernas and bars set in unimaginably pretty surroundings. UNESCO-listed Corfu Town is also well worth a visit, to discover it’s rich cultural and architectural history and, for those keen to spread their Ionian wings a little wider, there are boats from here across to Paxos. With such wealth of choice for shopping, dining and cultural exploits, it’s also worth mentioning the Waterpark; one of the best we know in Greece and a great day out for anyone young or young at heart. To enjoy it all, stay at any of our luxurious villas in Corfu or our beachfront Bella Mare Hotel.


Dancing is deeply embedded in Greek culture and it’s not unusual for a spontaneous display to erupt of an evening in one of the more traditional villages. Greeks love to dance and there are numerous places to enjoy an evening of revelry. But our favourite has to be Lakis Taverna in the traditional village of Spartochori on Meganissi. Enjoy excellent food cooked on the barbecue in front of you before joining the owner and his friends for some authentic revelry. Not for the faint-hearted, there’ll be dancing in the streets, in the kitchen, on the tables and more – but perhaps leave the ‘ring of fire’ to the professionals! Spartochori is easy to get to from any of our villas in Meganissi but closest is Casa di Maura, while Saffron and Mimosa are just a 5-minute drive away.

Just across the water from Corfu and Paxos, overlooking the clear, turquoise of the Ionian Sea, Sivota & The Epirus Coast is one of the least visited parts of mainland Greece. Inland, elusive tranquillity is very much a given even in the height of summer, whether you discover it in an abandoned village or across a magnificent gorge. The shoreline is punctuated by picturesque harbours, hidden coves and long sandy beaches and Sivota itself is a charmingly animated little place, the perfect base for dawdlers and discoverers to explore this captivating region. Our Adult Only Simpson Hotel White Orchid is our couples’ choice in the region while our villas in Sivota are brilliantly located for families looking to discover this fascinating region of the mainland.

On the paradise island of Meganissi, Fanari Beach is for those who like a little more groove while they soak up the sun. There are a couple of lively bars, beach volleyball, serviced cabanas and a selection of kayaks available for guests of the Reggae Bar - but you’ll need to turn up before midday in the peak season if you want to be sure of a seat. Outside July and August it’s a more relaxed affair, a wonderful place to lie back with a book or enjoy a drink and watch the boats come and go in the bay.


You can’t go far in Greece without coming across Gemista – a traditional dish of vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs and baked in the oven. The quality of the ingredients is key and the local produce is the star of the show. It’s almost impossible to replicate without the winning formula of sweet sun-ripened Greek tomatoes or peppers and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil which any local will tell you is the best in the world (though the Cretans will tell you that their EVOO specifically is the best in the world – and we wouldn’t dare to contradict!). If you’ve never tried it, this is the year – explore our Holidays in Greece and you won’t be disappointed.


To really scratch beneath the surface of the country’s ancient history there’s no better education than stepping out to explore some of the ancient pathways that criss-cross the landscapes. Led by expert guide Jonathan Peat, our Walking Holidays in Greece are a fantastic way for guests to learn more about the island of Crete and the fabulous mainland region of Epirus near Corfu; not only will you experience the magic and diversity of the local terrain, but you’ll also meet some of the characters and hear some of the stories that lie at the heart of its culture.

If you yearn for a time when life was altogether simpler, where the beauty of the natural world took centre stage and the peaceful rhythm of daily life was profoundly reassuring, then Ithaca is the place. Its untouched landscapes, white-pebble coves and idyllic waterfront villages retain their unique personality, even in the peak weeks of summer, and the blissfully unhurried pace appeals to both couples and families alike. All our villas in Ithaca are beautifully situated to help you slow down and enjoy the beauty of island life.


In Greek mythology jasmine is associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty and its gentle aroma forms the heavenly backdrop to many an evening under the stars. It grows naturally in the wild as a shrub and can be found climbing the walls or pergolas of domestic gardens wherever you go. You’ll find it around most of our Greek villas and hotels but if you’re really looking to pay homage to this highly prized fragrance, choose one of our Jasmine Suites at Bay View hotel in Paxos.


It’s 30 years since Kefalonia stole hearts and minds in the pages of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and the lure of its enchanting beauty is as strong as ever. Venetian Fiskardo shelters sleek yachts, superb restaurants and stunningly clear water in its secluded coves while further south, Trapezaki nestles beneath mighty Mount Ainos with a string of sandy beaches at its feet. View our selection of new villas in Kefalonia to find your island idyll or consider a hotel stay near Avithos.

Connected to the Greek mainland by a floating bridge, Lefkada has much to offer - not least its speed of access from the refreshingly efficient little airport at Preveza. At the northern tip of the island, the elegant capital boasts an excellent selection of shops, bars and restaurants and the nearest beach is a mecca for kite-surfing enthusiasts. Head along the west coast for dramatic sea and mountain views and spectacular golden sunsets or down the east coast for a little more in the way of infrastructure and some first rate tavernas along the waterfront in Lygia. Wherever you end up, the legendary beaches are sure to float your boat – which while we’re on the subject, is one of the best ways to explore this sensational island. Our villas in Lefkada offer something for all tastes and we have two excellent Simpson Hotels to choose from, Adult Only Katouna Suites in the north and the San Nicolas in the south which welcomes families in the school holidays. And those looking for a villa holiday with expert childcare on the doorstep will love our Mousses Crèche & Kids’ Clubs.


Mochlos is a charming tucked-away village with a wealth of character and a surprisingly upmarket selection of cafés and tavernas wrapped around its little beach. Leaving the main thoroughfare connecting Heraklion to eastern Crete, a winding road transports you down to the coast; a picturesque descent through a rural Mediterranean landscape that remains unspoilt by large tourist developments and retains its uniquely Cretan feel. Once discovered, this enchanting enclave is not readily forgotten and it’s a great base for exploring, whether you’re after the bright lights of Agios Nikolaos or the road less travelled in eastern Crete. You’ll find all our Mochlos villas here or choose our Simpson Hotel Mochlos Blue for a romantic retreat for two. Families looking for something really special are spoilt for choice; try The Artisan’s House (5-beds) or Villa Chameleon (6-beds) if you’re travelling with a larger group.


On the east coast of Lefkada, Nidri’s waterfront bustles with tavernas, shops, and yachts, making it a favoured destination for those seeking a relaxed atmosphere and a gateway to other Ionian Islands. It’s the ideal spot to hire a little boat and venture across to some of the nearby islands and there are regular ferries to Meganissi, Ithaca and Kefalonia for more adventurous souls. For a view of it all, our 5-bedroom Simpson Exclusive Callista is hard to beat.

Ouzo is a traditional Greek anise-flavored spirit, which holds a rich cultural significance in Greece. Distilled from grape remnants, it transforms from a clear liquid when mixed with water, creating a cloudy, mesmerizing effect known as "ouzo louché". This iconic drink often accompanies meze in social gatherings and its distinctive liquorice taste, combined with a hint of herbs, makes ouzo a symbol of conviviality that’s deeply ingrained in Greek social life.

Just off the southern tip of Corfu, Paxos is an island paradise with exquisite white pebble beaches lapped by astonishingly clear water. And though it’s only small, you’ll find an outstanding selection of first-class tavernas, cafés and bars adorning the seafront of the island’s three pretty villages. If the sea isn’t blue enough for you here (and trust us, it’s very blue) there’s nothing lovelier than hiring a little boat and pottering along to tiny Anti Paxos for a swim and a bite to eat. It’s hard to believe the sea hasn’t been photoshopped, such is the clarity and brilliance of the turquoise – but as far as we know, even AI hasn’t progressed that far. If you fancy a little piece of perfection this summer, try our villas in Paxos or one of our delightful boutique hotels on the island.

We understand that sometimes our clients are after total peace and relaxation, with the benefit of first-class hotel service. Our Adult Only Simpson Hotels in Greece are designed with exactly that in mind. Small in scale, grand on sophistication, our boutique collection is exclusive to us and promises an outstanding location, elegant accommodation and a dedicated concierge to take care of all the details. We promise it will be quiet without any little ones running around – the only caveat is the chirrup of the cicadas. I’m afraid they’re beyond our control!


A place of timeless beauty, The Rou Estate celebrates all that’s best about north east Corfu. Set in the hills above the fashionable waterfront village of Agios Stephanos, the idyllic grounds are home to 14 individually styled houses, exquisitely designed to make the most of the astonishing sea views. Everything needed for a relaxing holiday is on hand, including the estate’s own restaurant, spa and stunning infinity pool, and if you can bear to tear yourself away, our Simpson Concierge is available to advise on boat hire, local excursions and activities.

Literature, theatre, art and architecture all played an important part in ancient Greek culture and our Special Interest Holidays are ideal for anyone looking for an experience that transcends the everyday. Our carefully chosen itineraries at Arosmari Village Hotel in Crete allow you to indulge a passion for food, walking, painting, bridge, history, creative writing and more.

Trapezaki Beach in Kefalonia is blissfully informal with soft golden sands, crystal-clear waters and a really top-notch beach bar/taverna. In a naturally beautiful part of the island, it embodies barefoot island chic and is tucked away enough from the mainstream to feel like you’ve stumbled across a gem. We’ve a selection of luxurious villas nearby to suit all party sizes; take your pick from Trapezaki Beach (sleeps 2), Trapezaki Blue (sleeps 6) and Trapezaki Bay (sleeps 8).

Legend has it that the Greek Muses are the goddesses of literature, science and the arts. In Hellenic times, the goddess Urania became associated with astronomy, and a stay at any of our adult-only Muses Beach Villas in Eastern Crete would certainly satisfy the most avid stargazers. Just behind beautiful Kouremenos Beach and close to Palekastro, this is a delightfully unspoilt part of the island, ideal for a relaxing break à deux. Urania is the closest to the beach, with uninterrupted views across the bay.

On the mainland near Pogonia, just a 45-minute drive from Lefkada, our three new Varko Villas open up a whole new area of Greece to Simpson clients. With uninterrupted views across the Ionian Sea towards Kalamos and Meganissi, the natural beauty and tranquillity of their immediate surroundings is a real draw for anyone seeking contemporary comfort in a blissfully unspoilt setting, with a spectacular shingle beach just a two-minute walk away. Choose Apollo (sleeps 4), Hermes (sleeps 4) or Afroditi (sleeps 2).

Western Crete houses a rich tapestry of captivating landscapes and charming towns and villages. The White Mountains provide a magnificent backdrop to the whole region and the vibrant capital Chania resonates with historical charm around the splendid Venetian harbour. From the iconic spectacle of Balos Bay to the idyllic waterfront village of Loutro (accessible only on foot or by boat) the area seamlessly blends rich history, breathtaking scenery and the warm hospitality so synonymous with the island. Our villas in Western Crete have been handpicked to help you find your perfect home-from-home, Adult Only Arosmari Village Hotel is perfect for couples while beachfront GK Beach Hotel welcomes families throughout the season.

The word Xeni derives from the ancient Greek Xenos or Xenia, meaning welcoming, hospitality or stranger. A stay in Villa Xeni, our Simpson Exclusive on Meganissi, promises a warm welcome indeed from the charming concierge team who serve this exceptional property along with neighbouring Villa Mimi. Nestled by the water on the island’s southerly shoreline, both offer truly sumptuous surroundings, astonishing views across to the island of Kalamos and direct access to the sea.


Yamas means so much more than ‘cheers’; it’s the Greek salute to good health - obligatory when raising a glass of Ouzo, Raki or the local Tsipouro. It would be rude not to!


The magnificent north east Zakynthos coastline encapsulates all that we love most about the Greek Islands. Olive and citrus groves tumble down terraces to the sea, backed by pristine pebble beaches and enchanting little coves. Stylish villas nestle discreetly into limestone hillsides, commanding astonishing views over sapphire seas. From private boat hire to escorted day trips, timeless mountain villages to contemporary waterside restaurants, Zakynthos promises the magical essence of the Ionian. Our villas in Zakynthos are perfectly placed to enjoy it all.